For MMA fans, this already feels like a tired debate. I’m sure many people are sick of hearing about it and wish it would just go away. The fighters who are rushing to be the next in line to claim that they’ve somehow succeeded as a professional fighter in spite of their abnormally low testosterone levels probably also wish that we’d all lose interest in the topic.
I can’t. Especially not after talking to clean fighters who want to stay clean fighters, but who fear what will happen to them if they miss the testosterone train. Every sport struggles with performance-enhancing drugs of some stripe, but no other major professional sport offers its athletes this type of opportunity to use them right out in the open.
Maybe it’s a cultural problem. In an age where we have a drug for everything from thinning hair to thin eyelashes, maybe we’ve come to assume that we have a right to these things, that no natural deficiency — real or imagined — need be tolerated. That might be fine for regular people who want to boost their bench press or attain better erections through science, but in the business of professional pugilism, where bodies and brains can get wrecked even without synthetic help, it’s a dangerous mode of thinking.
It cheats the fighters who are competing naturally and it enables those who aren’t. It’s a loophole that begs to be exploited, and I can’t (or maybe just don’t want to) believe that it will even be allowed much longer. I also can’t believe that, once the loophole is finally closed, we won’t look back on this era of the sport and wonder what we were actually seeing during MMA’s TRT phase, and what in the hell we were thinking to have tolerated it for so long.
The whole situation really couldn’t be more absurd. The government is approving testosterone injections for cage fighters. And no one has said “Woah, wait a second. This is some fucked up shit!” Just like the media was too polite to point out Sarah Palin and Herman Caine are complete morons, no one has stood up and just said “This is cheating, straight up.” Which it is.
No one believes these fighters have testosterone levels low enough to need injections, and no one believes keeping testosterone levels under 6x the average isn’t performance enhancing. I know the world is on a great streak of not fixing obvious problems and all, but can we please do something about this TRT shit sooner rather than later?